|STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP (director/writer: Frank Wisbar; screenwriters: Harold Erickson/ Leo J. McCarthy; cinematographer: James S. Brown Jr.; editor: Hugh Winn; music: Alexander Steinert; cast: Robert H. Barrat (Chris Sanders, the father), Rosemary La Planche (Maria), Blake Edwards (Chris Sanders), Charles B. Middleton (Ferryman Douglas), Martina Sanders (Effie Parnell), Nolan Leary (Pete Jeffers); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR producer: Raoul Pagel; Sony (PRC); 1946)|
atmospheric ghost story set in a lonely
by Dennis Schwartz
expatriate director Frank Wisbar
("Commando"/"Wet Asphalt"/"Lighthouse"), who fled
the Nazis in the 1930s, helms this extremely
low-budget poverty-row film. It's an enticing
atmospheric ghost story set in a lonely swamp.
It's filmed in the studio. The cult film is a
remake of his Fahrmann Maria (1936).
Along with the director, Harold Erickson
and Leo J. McCarthy co-write the
screenplay. Its star is the beautiful Rosemary
La Planche (Miss America 1941). She
plays Maria, whose grandfather is
a ferry captain named Douglas (Charles Middleton)
accused of a murder he did not commit. After the
ferryman is hanged without any hard evidence, she
moves to the island and takes over his job. The job
calls for her to pull a wooden platform across the
swamp when transporting passengers. Meanwhile the
superstitious natives are frightened of the noose
still hanging from the tree, because they believe it's
love interest, Chris, is played by the future Pink
Panther director Blake Edwards. Chris happens to be
the son of one of the men who hung her grandfather.
When a number of other island males are found
strangled, the belief circulating is the hanged man is
seeking revenge from beyond the grave. In the exciting
climax, the ghost "strangler" grabs Chris and Maria
tells the ghost she is willing to sacrifice her life
to save her boyfriend.
Despite how cheaply it was made, this is a decent horror B film that's handled with style, a reasonable amount of intelligence and offers plenty of thrills.
REVIEWED ON 2/3/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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